Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Wanted A Barra.

Hi there,

Yes, this morning I went fishing because I wanted a Barra...

  • I got a Barra.
  • But it wasn't a Barramundi, it was a Barracuda.
The FFF forum has at the moment a competition called The Seadogs, in which you get some point if you catch a Barramundi every month for about a year.
So this morning, I went to one of my favourite land based fishing spot. But truth to be told, I usually go there for pelagic fish rather than for Barramundi.
Yet hope is what makes the world go round, so I had hope.

I arrived early at East Point, and quickly realised that I had missed this spot a lot lately.
It is really a beautiful spot, just in the city, basically.

Sunrise at East Point.

The water was beautiful and calm, and I started to feel that it could be a good morning...

The East Point rocks.

One can easily understand why I like this spot so much, some rocks in the water is usually a good sign to catch some fish.
On arrival, I saw a gentleman who was practicing the noble art of angling, and asked him if he had any luck.
He replied that he had just arrived and as such didn't had the time to catch anything yet.
Ok, I told myself, fair enough.
On the water I spotted my friend Aaron, who was trolling a lure from his kayak.
(He did well, and got three Trevally)
I walked a bit away from the said gentleman, as I don't like it too much when I am quietly fishing in a peaceful spot and someone comes out of nowhere, to fish over my shoulder.
I put on a walk the dog type of lure, did a first soft kind of cast to make sure that every thing was working right. And it did work alright.
So a more serious cast, as far as I could, along the rocks ledge.
And there, in the morning light, I look at my lure, walking like a dog, on the water surface. Thinking that this was a well made lure, easy to use, and rather efficient at catching fish.
When Boum! A flash of silver, and no more lure on the surface, but a tense line and an excited angler.
The fish went straight for the bottom, and didn't fight like a Barramundi. Neither like a Queenfish or a Trevally, which are my most common catch at East Point.
I started to wonder what it could be?
And this is only when it was brought back close enough for me to see what kind of toothy critter had taken interest in my lure.
It was a small Barracuda:

Little Barracuda on the DUO Realis Pencil 110.

Which one is his better side?

It kept jumping around, and because of the set of teeth that he was armed with, I had to use my lip grip and a plier to get my lure back, as quick as I could, before putting it back in the water.

First fish on the second cast of the day!
Oh yes, I was now sure that it would be a great morning.
Well it was, but this first fish was also the last one of the day...

Then why was it a great morning you might ask?
Well, because my mate Aaron let me try his kayak, and I really liked it, even if I could not forget that Crocodylus porosus swim in these waters. Which is why, I did not venture too far from shore, and not for very long.
I did met with a new member of the FFF, whom I had never met before.
And also, because I saw Dave, whom I had not seen for a long time.
And Dave made a photo of me fishing, and it shows where I was then hoping to get my Sunday Barramundi. 

Yours truly, in action; (Photo © Dave K.)

A spot of shallow rocky water, along a mangrove.
Well, it looked like the right spot, but the right spot it was not.

From a day that had started so well, with a fish on my second cast, I could not catch another fish. Not because of error on my part. I didn't get a single other hit.
Nothing, nada, zero...
I was hopeful to get a Barramundi, and all I got was a small Barracuda.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

2014 Top End Barra Series Round 5.

Hi there

It was the fifth round of the 2014 Top End Barra Series, and how did it go?
  • We did much better than last year in roughly the same location (Bynoe Harbour).
  • We got most of our fish on soft plastic lures.
  • I got my first Barramundi on a walk the dog type of lure.
  • Brett is continuing to climb the overall score board, at fast pace.
Yes it was in Bynoe Harbour a place where I got a donut last year... 
But this year was going to be very different, that it could be seen as night and day.
In fact to be honest it was one of my best fishing trip in a long time.
Yes, I had a bit of a cold, which made me cough and sweat more than I should have. I also have had some fishing trip where more fishes were caught, or bigger one...
But fishing in a place that you don't know well, and doing much better than the previous time that you fished it... It has a kind of buzz, that is difficult to beat. When you have the sensation of learning new tricks, it can make you very happy.

So I was fishing this round with Brett, who had kindly invited me o his boat again for this round.
And this was a great advantage for me, as he knows Bynoe Harbour very well.
We arrived at he boat ramp, early in the morning, and a few boats were already waiting in line.
It was good to catch up with a few mates, and some new faces. Exchanging some pre-fishing banters, and just being happy to be there.

Quickly we made our way up to one of Brett's spot, not wasting any precious fishing time.
We put on some soft plastic lures that Brett says are the most efficient fish catcher in Bynoe.
And oh right he was!
we caught about 20 Baramundi and a few other species of fish over the weekend, and only two of all this lot were caught on a different lure.
At the first spot, it was sight casting, a thing that I wanted to try for a long time.
It was great, just waiting for the Barra to arrive from the left, cast a lure in front of it, reel in and look at the fish going for it.
Definitively one of the  most exciting way of fish for Barramundi.
And this is how I got my first Barramundi of the weekend:

First Barramundi of the weekend.

At 54cm (21.259843 inches), it was no monster, but it was a point scorer, the monkey was off my back, and from now on it was all going to be fun. 
Brett got a few undersize fish and finally showed me what fishing really is, by catching a few good ones in a row.

A very serious Barramundi fisherman.

Catching Barramundi, one after the other.

In fact Brett got at least 4 Barramundi from this spot, from memory, I think that the 5 or 6 first Barra caught over the weekend were all sight casted.
This was very exciting, and I did get a bit too excited, when a nice fat 80cm+ (31.496063 inches) Barramundi came swimming on our left.
Brett said: this one is yours, get it.
So I casted toward it... But totally messed up my cast, and flicked the lure way to close to it, and spooked it.
This would have been a good fish, and safely was not the first one of the weekend that I would miss, just by being silly...
By example as we were moving away from this spot, my skipper showed me a Barramuni, hiding between the submerged branches of a tree. He told me to just drop my lure behind it and lift the fish out of there as soon as it would be hooked. Simple concept really.
But I wanted, against his advice, use a weedless lure...
It went like this: we approach as silently as we could. I drop my lure, behind the fish, just a bit on its side. The Barramundi, turned on itself and very aggressively gobbled the lure! I try to raise the fish out of the water and the branches; it simply open the mouth and let the lure fly out...
My bad, I should have used the same lure that had caught fish before during the day.

You would think that I would have learnt my lesson there and then?
Well, that is another story...

From there we moved into a little creek, were we got stuck in a water hole, by the receding tide.
But all was not lost, as we did catch a few fishes in there.
Brett was laughing his way through a high number of fish:

Happy like a man who just caught a Barramundi.

Despite totally crushing me in the catch rate, Brett was saying that it was the quieter he had ever seen the place. That this water hole should have plenty more of Barra, and some good Tarpon and Threadfin Salmon.
Guess what? 
Not long after talking about Tarpon, he got one, you know, just to show me that they were around:

The Tarpon.

I could not just stay there looking at him catching all the fish; so I hooked on a small Barramundi.

My second point scorer of the weekend.

That was enough to keep me in good spirit, and I kept trying. So Brett once again showed me how to do it:

With another Barramundi from the same spot.

I then got another from the same spot. Basically, there was a stick in the water, and we got all our fish when the lures were swimming past the stick. We could see on the sounder bigger fish, but could not tempt them to hit our lures...
It the water hole, when we arrived, we saw another boat.
They told us that they hooked a Barramundi, but that it took them on a snag and broke the line.
Yes, that must have been on the stick where we got our fishes, as with the falling tide, we saw the lure and were able to pick it up.
When we saw the guys who had lost the lure a bit later in the day, we gave it back to them, this is also what the Top End Barra Series is about.

As the tide was soon to come back we hoped that the big fish would get on the chew and start to bite.
Well, I did get a bit of a surprise:

Mud crab on the lure.

Lucky for him, it was too small to keep so i did put it back.
And lucky for me it was small too, because he tried to grab me with his nippers, and missed me by an hair. Mud crabs can be a bit dangerous when big, and they are also delicious to eat, this one would need to get bigger, and is safe from humans for now.
not long after I got a small Threadfin Salmon, and let it go, as it was like the crab before him, a bit too small to be kept.

This is the place where we waited for the tide to come back to take us out of the creek:

A little water hole full of Barramundi.

The place didn't look like much, but when the Barramundi are hungry, it must be a great place to be.
Coming out of there, sailing in very shallow water we came across a patch of water where the Barra were booting their heads off. 
Brett told me not to think, just cast in front of me, and try to catch some!
I was wondering if it we would catch anything in this dirty fast running water.
I had to reel in much faster than usual, just to keep the lure to be taken on the sand because of the current. And I was wondering how a Barramundi or any other fish, would be able to see my lure in this dark water...
Well it didn't take long, just a few cast, and I was hooked to what much have been my best fish of the weekend.It used the current to its advantage, and first swam toward the boat. Then came to the surface and made its first jump: a very nice Barramundi it was! Brett got the net, got ready to scoop it, but the fish seeing the net, took another run, and I had trouble to get it back to the boat.
When it was finally close enough, Brett got ready again, and instead of going down, the fish came up and jumped again, this time spitting the lure on the right while diving back on the left...
Brett did try to get it in the net, but alas, it was too late and the fish was lost.
Brett then quickly hooked on another one, but it was a small one, not a point scorer, and then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended, and the joint become lifeless. 
We ha had a chance, and we lost it, but it had been some really exciting fishing.
It was then time to go back to land, and that is what we did.
We wen to the Palm Sands for a dinner and a night in an air-conditioned room. No not the Sands Plam from Las Vegas, the little motel near Bynoe Harbour...
But the food was great and generous, and it was good after a full day on the water to sleep in air cone and have a shower.
And also talking to all the other participants in the Top End Barra Series who had made up camp at the same motel. Chatting with some of them, we started to think that with all the fish that Brett had caught during the first day, he might end up doing well on the scoreboard. And we were right about that.
So it is withe great optimism that we launched again the following morning.

Beautiful morning to go fishing.

It was a beautiful morning to go fishing, and every body seemed happy.

Trying to be the first on the good spot.

We did pass a few mates on our way to the morning fishing spot. They were going fast, and were going to go much slower in the afternoon...
You will understand...

We went straight where we had sight casted to fish the previous morning. But this time the water was dirty and we could not really see any fish coming through.
Yet a bit on the side of there, we could see a reef that was soon to be exposed, and some bait being harassed by predator.
With the aid of the electric motor, we moved toward the spot and started to flick our lures where the bait was very nervous.
Brett got a very good hit, but it didn't connect.
I got a hit, but the fish pulled hard to the bottom, not coming up. I started to wonder what it was?
It was a Mangrove Jack!

My second ever Mangrove Jack.

This was my second ever Mangrove Jack; the first one had be in the previous round of the Top End Barra series, in the Darwin Harbour.
I was very happy with that!
This one I kept for the esky, Mangrove Jack are delicious to eat.
To me a Mangrove Jack first thing in the morning, is definitively a good sign.
And yes, not long after that, just a few metres from where I had hooked the Mangrove Jack, I hooked on a fish that didn't wast any time to jump, and show us all the chrome it was made of.
It was going to be my biggest Barramundi of the weekend.

My best Barramundi of the weekend.

At only 60cm (23.622047 inches) it was still a rather small fish, but I was to learn latter on that in this round of the Top End Barra Series, it was still going to be a good fish. And it made me very happy.
But with the bites slowing down, and the tide doing the same thing, we decided to move toward another rock bare, in the hope of better fishing.
In doing so we realised that we were leaving not a minute too early, as we could see the sea floor under the boat, and nearly scrapped it a few times. At our destination, the fishing was still very slow, we saw Draco, who confirmed to us, that there was not many Barramundi, where we had just arrived.
We could see some young Queenfish harassing the bait around the boat. So I put a DUO lures, the Realis Pencil 110 that Brett had given me a few months ago, on my line and throw it among them.
That was definitively a winer and I was soon rewarded with a nice little Queenfish hooked on it.

Queenfish on the DUO Realis Pencil 110.

This was my first fish on a walk the dog type of lure, and I loved it!When you see your lure walking like a dog on the surface, and a school of fish zooming in on it, then one of them smashing the lure and you line starting to go tight and flying from your reel... What a feeling.

But as we were having all this fun, Brett noticed that some mates of ours, were still on the first rock bare that we had left earlier, when the tide was going down...
And it didn't look really good for them, they seemed to be stranded. So Brett made the call to go and try to rescue them.

The boys stuck on the dry flats.

We could not go too close to them, or we would have been stuck too.
The plan was to try to pull them out of there, before we get stuck ourselves.
So we needed to join the two boat with a rope. For that to happen, one of us had to wade for about 100 meters in knees high water... With my well documented fear of crocodiles, there is no way that I was going to do it. So one of the boys had to run from their boat to Brett's boat, get the rope and go back to his boat. 
The rope was attached between both boat and Brett tried to pull them out of their misery.

Trying to pull the stranded boat.

Well it didn't works as excepted, and we couldn't move their boat at all.
The outboard was starting to overheat, so we had to stop.
Brett asked them if they had enough water, to which they said yes, and we wished them a good day, waiting for the tide. As we made our way to deeper and safer water.

From there we moved to a different spot on the harbour, where we saw Cuddelscooper and his Dear Lady. They told us what everybody told us before. That the fishing was slow, and that they didn't had that much fish yet...
We had a chat, and fished along them for a little while, but for no results.
So we moved along.

And casting over some low tide reefs, I got a small Golden Snapper.

Small golden Snapper on the lure.

And we decided to go back where we were before. But just a few hundreds of meters on our way, and Brett slowed down the boat, and told me: Look at this eddy, it could be full of fish...
And full of fish it was. Some of our best fish for the weekend were caught in the following hour. From a seemingly barren little eddy, whiteout much of a snag or anything, apart a nice colour chafe in the water.
Some were small, but some were better, and Brett got the king share of them:

Brett with a nice chrome salt water Barramundi.

And another one.

In fact because we thought that the opportunity to catch some fish was going to be short, with the tide rising, we did not take pictures of all the fish, as to not waste any time. Only the better ones were photographed. And trust me, for me not to take a picture of each and every fish that came onboard, was difficult...

Selfie with a Barramundi.

I even just did a quick selfie of what was going to be my second best fish of the weekend, before putting it back in the water, because I didn't want to wast any precious time.
When he saw that, Brett asked me if I was all right or sick? Apparently it is well know, that I always want some good photo. We had a good laugh about that too.
And yes, the bite died down, and we had to find some better water if we wanted to catch some more.
By then, we both had our bag of five fish (But we only kept three fish, all the other had been returned to the water to grow bigger). And were in the pursuit of better fish to upgrade our score.
We went in a little creek, that become accessible once the tide started to rise.
And in there, I got my first ever Barramundi on a walk the dog lure:

My first Barramundi on the DUO Realis Pencil 110.

Was I happy? You bet that I was! I liked this lure before, but now I loved it! In the dirty water of the rising tide, the noise that t produce had permitted the Barramundi to zoom on it, and the strike was nothing short of spectacular. In fact the Barra did not boof the lure like they often do. It came and slashed it like if he was a pelagic fish attacking a bait ball. The struck was very aggressive. I was looking at the lure swimming on top of the water, when I saw this grey thing ram the lure from the right and disappear under water with it. I am on ! I screamed, and Brett immediately asked if it was a Barramundi? I don't know I replied, as I had just seen the struck, but had not been able to identify the fish, as it was too fast.
It didn't jump, stayed at the bottom and fought hard, when it finally came to the surface, seeing a bit of grey, I knew it wasn't a cod of some sort, but wasn't sure if it was a Salmon, a Queenfish or a Barramundi. Then it dived, but doing so, raised its tail, and I knew it was a Barramundi, and I didn't want to loose it.
Turned out that I was not going to loose it, as he had hooked itself on both trebles.
And yes it was a small upgrade for me.
And this was the last fish of the weekend.

We then made our way to the boat ramp, where a few boat had been doing the same at the same time... It was peak hour at the ramp.
But the mangrove was still beautiful, and I din't really mind the wait, as it was the occasion to catch up with a few mates.

Bynoe Harbour mangrove.

So how did we ended up Brett and I in this round?
Well Brett finished third and me in the ninth position. This mean that Brett is still continuing his climb on the overall scoreboard, and me, I am not sure yet. I will have to wait to see the full scoreboard to know about that.

Thank you Brett for inviting me on your boat once again.

In the car on the way back, I had a bit of time to reflect on what a great weekend it had been.
And on what the Top End Barra Series had provided me with so far for the 2014 edition.
  • It gave me my first Barramundi over 100cm (39.370079 inches).
  • It gave me my first night time Barramundi on a fizzer.
  • it gave me my first Mangrove Jack.
  • It gave me my first Barramundi on a walk the dog lure.
And plenty of good laugh and friendship. I have also learned again about fishing for Barramundi, in every rounds. 
So it is only fair to say that the first five round of this year Top End Barra Series has been great to me.
Just one more round, and then we will have to wait till next year for it to restart all over again.
This will be a long wait.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Fat Little Barramundi.

Hi there,

I went fishing with Sarge, in the pursuit of some salt water Barramundi; and...

  • We didn't get many fish.
  • My biggest one was rather short.
  • But it was fat, and that is a good sign for the year to come.
So Sarge and I had decided to go in the direction of Salt Water Arm, with the high ambition of catching ourselves a good feed of fresh Barramundi.
Oh how life can be deceptive some time.
We launched rather late in the morning, thinking that the low tide would be at around midday.
And that by then the fish would be on the chew.
That was a great plan; but it didn't turn out as we had expected.
The fish didn't want to play, or maybe were just too clever for us.

In fact Sarge got the first fish of the day, flicking his lure, and reeling it back, when he got a solid hit, but didn't stay connected. Yet before he got his lure back he got another hit!
but a very small one this time, and yes, it stayed hooked on.
The name of this fish started by Barra too, but it had the wrong ending...
It was a small fish, with big teeth:

The baby Barracuda.

It was a very cute little Barracuda, just a baby really.
And in the water it went back.

After that, it was a long time, of flicking lures, trolling lures and hoping that a fish would find one of our lures attractive... But no, we were like the pariah of the fishing world. The fish avoided our lures, with determination and constance; it started to become a tad frustrating.
So we moved toward a bank that we had not fished yet.
With the idea of changing tactic and to start flicking weedless soft plastic right in the snag.
Two things happened: I got the confirmation that weedless lures still get snagged; I lost a few.
And, we finally got hit by some fish!
In fact only on my third or fourth cast, I hooked and landed my first little Barramundi of the day!

Barramundi on weedless soft plastic.

It was only a very small Barramundi, but after all this flicking for nothing, it sure made me happy!
It was way too small to keep, and was promptly returned to his element: some brownish salt water.
With a renewed enthusiast, I flicked again, hoping for his big brother, or maybe even his big sister...
When not long after that, I was hooked to a fish again!
Got it in the boat, but it was about the same size. Rather than asking Sarge to take a photo of me holding it, I tried a selfie. So Sarge would not loose any precious fishing time. Especially now that we seemed to have found the right spot.
But I am not too good at selfie with a little live fish in my hand, and the pic doesn't really deserves to be shown... 
Then I lost my lure to a snag.
So I sat at the back of the boat to put a new leader on my line, and attach a new lure at the end of it.
Being focused on the task at hand, I forgot about Sarge casting his lure away to any snag that we passed. I forgot till I heard him say something a bit like: "Yes! Oh No! Expletive, expletive, expletive"...
He had just hooked and then lost a Barramundi that was a good 70cm...
He said that he saw it coming, and lazily boof his lure near the surface, turn around, and fight for a few second before spitting the lure.
That would definitively have been the fish of the day, but it was not to be.

So we continued to move along the same little bank, when I made a cast just between two submerged trees. But it was not a good cast. In fact I wanted to cast just next to one of the tree, and had cast spot on in the middle of the two trees... I silently cursed myself, but still tried to give a bit of action to the lure, as I was winding it back. When it was hit with a bang! A sudden hit, a big tail slapped the surface and dived down. I was thinking Barramundi, because I had seen the tail, but it was going down, giving head shake. Could it be a cod or a catfish?
It was definitively a bigger fish than the ones I had before.
Then it came to the surface, head and shoulder out of the water shaking it's big mouth: it was a Barramundi! And I called it for a good fish, he was strong and fast.
Sarge scooped it in the net, and I was impressed by how fat it was. Before realising that it wasn't that long after all.

My best Barramundi of the day.

It measured a rather small 59cm (23.228346 inches), but was fat and had some good shoulder. Which might explain why he had fought above it's size. This was my first, (and was going to be the only) of legal size for the day, so in the esky it went.
I was happy, it was no giant; but I had a feed for my little family.

I am no Barramundi expert, still I do hope that a short but fat Barramundi is a sign of a good year in front of us. Last year the Barramundi were not that fat early in the season.
Or at least, not the ones I caught.

Not long after that, we had to call it a day.
And a great day it had been, thank you Sarge for inviting me on your boat.

Yes, I know, one lonely fish to bring back home might not look like much to some of you...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 Top End Barra Series Round 4.

Hi there,

Here come the tale of the fourth round of the 2014 Top End Barra Series, taking place on the Darwin harbour.
  • Brett my skipper won the round!
  • We got all our fish on soft plastic.
  • We had a great time.
  • And a new fish species for me!
So lets start at the beginning.
Darwin Harbour always promised to be an interesting round.
I won the round three year ago, but hadn't done very good in it in the past two years.
Brett had fished the harbour a bit in the past few month, and knew where the fish would be...
This sounded good to me, it was was going to be...

Brett picked me up, not too early, and that was nice to have a short sleep in before going fishing for once. I must be getting old...
On the harbour, the water looked like glass:

Water like glass on Darwin harbour.

Yes, this photo was made, from a boat moving at full speed. And it shows how beautiful the water and weather were.
We were soon on our first spot, and trying to sight cast to Barramundi swimming in the shallow mud flat. The only problem, was that we usually spotted the fish after they had spotted us, and by then it was way too late to catch them.
We did see some shadows swimming on the front left of the boat. Both our lures flew at the same time, mine didn't bring back the beacon, but Brett was on!

Brett on the first fish of the weekend.

This was  good fight for the first fish of the weekend, but it wasn't a Barramundi...
It was a mother in law fish...
By this point I was still fishing with my own lures, which was an error...
Brett was starting to get some hit, and he landed the first Barra for the round:

First Barramundi for the round.

Brett, was already doing good, and telling me to use the same lure than he was.
But being myself, I could not help to want to try some of my shiny lures... And what a mistake it was. I did have a few little bump, half hearted hits on my lures, but nothing serious, nothing to call home for. While Brett was reeling them in.
Brett had already got three Barramundi, a Mother In Law fish, a catfish and a little rock cod, I was still fish less...
Drastic measures were needed, and drastic measure were taken, I finally took my skipper's advice, and started to use one of his lure.
Guess what?
I immediately hooked a fish!
Alas, not of the right species...

Stargazer on the line.

Yes, it was  a small Stargazer, and as beautiful these little fish are, it was not the target of the day. Or of any day in fact, and it was promptly returned to the water, to feed hopefully on a better prey for him than another fisherman's lure.

Brett on the other hand, had no problem to find the Barra, and after two smallish ones, finally struck gold, and got a nice one:

Brett and the biggest Barramundi of the weekend.

At 80cm (31.496063 inches) this was going to be the biggest Barramundi caught over the weekend, by any of the competitors. This was a great point scorer, and catapulted Brett on the first step of the podium.  This big fish, was released free nice and healthy, ready to fight another day.
Barra were boofing in the shallow around us, and it was starting to get really exciting.
So Brett did exactly what any good fisherman would have done in similar conditions: he caught another Barra! But this one came with a surprise:

Barramundi with nipped tail.

The tail of this beautiful salt water Barramundi, had just been nipped by a shark.
No doubt about it, it was not its lucky day, as he ended in the esky, no more torment.
Barramundi were the fish to catch, but a good fisherman's basket always contains more than one offering, Brett also caught a beautiful crocker and a great harbour Goldie:

Brett and his Golden Snapper.

Very kindly he offered me to keep these two fishes, which I accepted, as so far, my own basket looked pretty sad and empty. The Goldie was given to my mother in law, so I would stays in the good books. And the rest, was part of a very nice meal at home.

It was nearly time to go home, as we had decided to not spend the night in the boat, and I was still without any Barramundi to my name. I was starting to think that I had missed the feeding time, and that I would have to do better the following day, if I didn't want to end on a donut.
Brett said, lets try a last spot before we call it a day, and drove the boat to another rocky beach.
Shallow dirty waters, rock and oyster all around, this looked like a good spot for a Barramundi to ambush preys, and maybe find my lure...
After a few cast all around the boat, I did the longest one that I could, in direction of the beach. The lure fell in a few centimetre of water, and raising my fishing rod high I quickly reeled in the first few meters as to not get stuck on the shallow rocks. Then I slowed down to normal speed, wondering in how shallow the Barramundi would be hunting. I was quickly informed, that they don't need much at all. The fish had taken the lure, and this time it seemed like it was properly hooked, and it jumped and showed me that it was indeed a Barramundi. A nice little harbour Barramundi, not a giant, but a feisty little point scorer. Which if I was able to get it to the net, would get me on the board, and take the monkey off my back. To say that I really wanted to get this fish in the boat would have been an understatement. I didn't want this fish, I needed it!
And Brett did a very good job at netting it first try, and I knew I could now relax.

My first Barramundi of the weekend.

As I said, no monster, but still a very sweet little fish.
And as it often happen, a second fish followed the first one in no time, the drought had been broken.

My biggest Barramundi for the weekend.

At 63cm (24.80315 inches) it was not huge, but was going to prove itself my biggest one for the weekend, and not a bad one in the competition.

By now, it was the end of the first day, and it was time to go back to the boat ramp, and head home for a rest.
Little talk and chitchat with other competitors at the ramp, instructed me that Brett had indeed done very well on the first day, and would certainly be in the top ten, and that if I could continue to do the same on the second day, I might be in the top twenty. This was good news.

On the morning of the second day, it was nearly the same start, but a bit later.
Once again the water was absolutely flat and glass looking.

Brett taking pictures of the paparazzi.

It was so flat, that I decided to take some more photographs of the harbour. Brett laughed and said that I was like a paparazzi, always taking pictures of everything.

Full throttle toward spot X.

The advantage of a flat sea, is that we can go full speed on to our fishing spot.
Less time travelling, and more time fishing.

It started pretty much as the day before, in the sense, that I did try to fish with my own lures first...
But this time, it was short lived, and I quickly put on the lure that Brett had lent me on the previous day.
And second cast...
I got my first ever Mangrove Jack!
Just a baby one, but still it made my day. If that was the only fish I had caught over the entire weekend, I would still have been very happy.
I have been in Darwin for many years, and was yet to catch one. All my friends were catching them, but not me .
I was a very happy man there and then:

My first ever Mangrove Jack.

At 33cm (12.992126 inches) it was rather small, and I let it go, despite them being very good on the plate. It had made me happy enough and deserved to live an grow, to hopefully become a happy big daddy Mangrove Jack.

After this very happy encounter with baby Jack, it took me only two cast to get another Barramundi!
Yes, on the second cast, I was on again, and when it jumped, clear of the water, shaking its head like a mad one, we saw that this time it was a Barramundi.
Brett told me to raise my rod, that it was very shallow and full of rocks, so raise my rod I did.
And the fish was in the net, quick smart, still very green.

My third Barramundi for the weekend.

Two fish in three cast, I was happy, and started to take a serious liking in Brett's fishing lures.
So much in fact that I decided on the spot, that they were going to be my next purchase.

The fishing slowed down a little bit, so we zoomed to another spot.
Where history repeated itself once again.
First cast nothing happen.
Second cast and I am on!
I saw my lure coming out from a colour change, then a Barra came rushing behind hit, and boofed it before trying to swam back in the colour change. Realising it was hooked, so close to the boat, it went ballistic and jumped around, swam to the other side of the boat. Where Brett was waiting for it with the net, and scooped it, and deposited it on the embarkation's floor.
As soon as he had dropped the net, Brett started to cast again, saying that they must have been feeding.
And before I got my lure out of the mouth of my Barramundi, Brett's saying that he is on too!
So I just got the Barra out of the net, lure still in mouth and got ready to scoop the second Barramundi. Hooked just a few minutes apart of each other.
This was not a double hook-up, but it was as close as it can be of one.
Once Brett's fish was in the net, we quickly got the lures out of their mouth, and put both of them back in the net, thinking that they needed a swim, before we could photograph them.

Brett with the two Barramundi.

My last Barramundi of the weekend.

Brett had caught the bigger one, and me the smaller one.
This was the last two Barramundi we would catch for the weekend, and that was enough to make us happy.
We didn't even get another sniff at this post after the two fish in rapid succession.
So we went somewhere else.
Where Brett got a rat Barra, and a little blue salmon, which gave him a bit of a rubble.
At one stage Brett was standing on one side of the boat, the fish went under the boat and jumped on the other side. With the line going under the boat from one side to the other.
Finally it was subdued, brought to the boat and released.

Brett with the little Blue Salmon.

But not catching any more fish, with the wind starting to rise, and some good fish already caught, we decided that it was time to head back.

Not very far from the ramp, we saw someone who had run out of petrol, and we towed him back towards the ramp.

Towing a boat on the water.

This had been a great weekend, with as usual plenty of good laughs. And a few good fish as a bonus.
The Top End Barra Series once again had delivered a first for me: my first ever Mangrove Jack.

A big thank you to Brett for inviting me on his boat again, this is much appreciated.

So how did we go on the scoreboard?
Well Brett finished first for the round!
Which put him in the tenth spot at the overall scoreboard, with two rounds to go, he can still progress towards the top.
Me, I ended up 14 for the round, which sent me back to the fifth position in the overall tournament results. So now I have to try to get lucky in the last two rounds for 2014, to stay in the top pack.
The only problem, is that we are now at a stage where most competitors start to eye the finish line, and to act more serious.
Perfect time for me to fall back lower in the ranking...

But hey, it could be worst.
Have a good day,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Lure With No Name

Hi there,

Today I am going to tell you the tale , not of a horse with no name, but of a lure with no name...

A few months ago, I was gifted a beautiful timber lure.
One that I believed to be a Killalure, yet something was not right. I had never seen one looking like this. The eyes, the tow point and the hooks hangers were right, but something about the shape was unusual…
Was it just a copy, or a very rare one?

It looks like a baby Barramundi.

I asked here and there if anyone had already seen a similar lure. But to no avail, the mystery grew deeper and deeper.
With a lot of people giving their opinion. Some of the answer I received, were closer to science fiction than reality.
Then one evening trolling an online lure forum, I struck gold!
I found someone who obviously had a very good knowledge of the Killalure brand (And you are soon to know why). 
I sent him a message, he replied and the enigma was no more.

The lure is indeed a Killalure, from the mid 80’s. It is in fact a 4” Killalure cut down. While making them, the good people at Killaure had a problem with a run of blank that had been over sanded. So the man making them, cut the tail off, and put on them some aluminum bib that he had laying around.
About one hundred of them were made. The run was so short; that the lure didn’t even received a name!

The Killalure with no name.

The lures were painted with Dulux Base Coat.
The colour is originally a Nils Master one, but in the Killalure range this is the colour number 70. The hooks might be 777 #2 Eagle Claws. 
A few different bibs were used for this lure model; on this one it was the 3” Barra Bait bib.

The 3" Barrra Bait bib

Who is the man who generously gave me all this information?

It is no one else than the man behind the Killalure saga: the legendary Dave Killalea.

Thanks to the Dave who gave me this lure, and thanks to the Dave who give me the information about this lure.

Two different Dave, but two top bloke.

So with about only one hundred of them ever made, I doubt that I will ever have a full colour set of this very lure...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,